• Meet Michael Parsons. Parsons is a Fordham University scientist who studies rats in New York City. That sounds like it should be easy, but it’s really, really not. Parsons — and Grist’s Naveena Sadavisam — explains why it’s so hard to learn even the most basic information about this omnipresent form of urban wildlife.
• Speaking of rats … This is a weird story about Alex Jones. Of course, any story involving this disturbed demagogue and multi-media conspiracy theorist con-man is bound to be a weird story. Alex Jones is a deeply weird man.
He’s also one of the most loathsome people in America, which is why I’m not inclined to be skeptical about any news alleging foul behavior on his part. He is, after all, a man now being sued by the families of the children murdered at Sandy Hook who are just trying to get him to stop accusing them of being frauds participating in a “false flag” operation orchestrated by nefarious forces. Jones’ has been peddling that vile nonsense ever since the massacre at the Connecticut elementary school, encouraging his deplorable horde of followers to torment and harass those grieving families and to deny the legitimacy of their tragic loss.
I very much hope to see these families succeed completely in their lawsuit. I hope it bankrupts Alex Jones and prohibits him from ever again having a public platform from which to spread his ignorant, hateful poison.
But I still don’t quite believe that what’s being reported here is the whole truth of what just happened. “Alex Jones Sent Emails Containing Child Porn to Sandy Hook Victims’ Lawyers,” Buzzfeed reports:
The child pornography was found in 12 emails of more than 57,000 messages that were turned over by Jones to lawyers representing families of the school victims, Jones’ attorney Norm Pattis said. One of the images was discovered when consultants hired by attorneys for the Sandy Hook families began to review the files, prompting them to contact the FBI, according to court documents.
Jones is now accusing the Sandy Hook attorneys of trying to frame him by using malware to place the pornography on his computers. The idea that these lawyers are in any way involved is just more of Jones’ ranting nonsense, but his claim that he didn’t know the material was there and doesn’t know how it got there may be true. This has happened before — often enough that it had become “the excuse of the moment for defendants” by 2009. I expect it’s something we’ll see happen again, as a tool to discredit and disgrace those whom anyone with the power or the means wants to discredit and disgrace. (If J. Edgar Hoover had had this technology, does anyone doubt how he’d have used it?)
Then again, Jones is a disturbed man with a long history of being obsessively fascinated by the idea “false flag” ratf–king. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that this was his own attempt to somehow escape his impending loss in this lawsuit by framing the Sandy Hook attorneys for framing him.
• Slightly related — I do believe that this story is true as reported: “Pastor Arrested for Having Child Porn (with His Face Superimposed on the Images).” This guy kept his personalized print-outs in a dresser drawer, so I don’t think a malware defense is going to work for him.
• Also slightly related — “Americans arrested for bomb threat and defamatory post get bail in St. John’s.”
Two American women were granted bail Tuesday in St. John’s after allegedly making bomb threats and publishing defamatory statements on Twitter.
… The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said it was called to the St. John’s International Airport about suspicious activity Friday. The two women allegedly made a bomb threat on Twitter, and after an investigation, police officers arrested the two women at the airport on Sunday. …
It is unclear why the women were in St. John’s, however according to a website allegedly run by Nanna, she was on a “revival tour” that advertised a stop in Prince Edward Island this month.
[Hepzibah] Nanna has 90,000 followers on Facebook, where she does live video sermons for her followers.
She also has several books listed on Amazon and refers to herself as having a “radical, hold-nothing-back, intimate, heart-to-heart relationship with Jesus.”
She also indicates online that she is a survivor of Satanic ritualistic abuse and is now a spiritual advisor for others.
Conspiracy theories have consequences. They ruin lives.
Nanna is only 28, so it’s odd that she’s still working a Satanic baby-killer con from the 1980s instead of one of the more au courant 21st-century variations like PizzaGate or QAnon. You wouldn’t think someone born in the ’90s would be old enough to remember Michelle Remembers.
It turns out, though, that this person has quite a history as a grifter in search of whatever conspiratorial niche she can find. She’s not good at it, but it’s a living.
• Stories like those above are why I’m of two minds about Ari Aster’s upcoming Folk Horror movie Midsommar. On the one hand, it sounds like creepy fun with the timely theme of Folk Horror that, as Kyle Anderson puts it, “the true terror comes from the combined evil of a group of people who believe what they’re doing isn’t evil.” But on the other hand, we’ve seen how pop-culture scary stories get transmuted into folklore and conspiracy theories and ultimately even into religious dogma, and I’m not looking forward to Facebook posts from people at church about how Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and the Deep State are trying to sacrifice real, true Christians in their Wicker Man.
• The title of this post comes from Michael Jackson’s first No. 1 solo hit, the Golden Globe-winning “Ben” from the 1972 horror film of the same name. It’s a lovely song about friendship — as long as you’ve never seen the movie.